EFJ “Shocked” by President Sarkozy’s Comments about French Media Bias

The

European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the regional group of the

International Federation of Journalists, today protested against the shocking

comments made by French President Nicolas Sarkozy accusing the media of bias.

"As a candidate, Mr.

Sarkozy assured us that he believed the media are a key element of

democratic life, but he seems to have forgotten these principles as a

President and he doesn't hesitate to

cry "censorship" when media do not report the news to his liking. We are

outraged by his behavior," said EFJ Chair Arne König.

On 6 May, Sarkozy said

media outlets including Agence France-Presse (AFP), le Parisien and l'Express,

were biased because they did not report enough on a verdict by the Court of

Rennes finding Segolene Royal, Sarkozy's opponent in last years' election,

guilty of improperly paying her assistants. The following day, Sarkozy's ruling

party UMP accused AFP of "censorship" because it did not circulate

all of UMP's press releases.

AFP, like all other

media, is not obligated to report all information from the President or the

ruling party, said the EFJ.

The EFJ pointed out that

Royal herself accused AFP of being biased last year, which shows that it is

independent from both parties and not systematically reporting news in a way

that is more supportive of one party than to the other.

"We see that the financing of public broadcasting is at risk, the discussions

on the draft law on protection of sources are suspended and now President

Sarkozy and his party accuse media of being biased. This is a shocking way to

defend press freedom in France,

one year after the presidential elections," said König.

For more information contact the EFJ at +32 2 235 22 15
The EFJ represents over

250,000 journalists in over 30 countries in Europe